I’d like to transport you to a time in the far past, back to the very early 500’s B.C.
The long exile of the people of God from the land of promise has ended. The rebuilding efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah are in progress, Zerubbabel has been working on the completion of the temple, Haggai and Zechariah have been preaching on the centrality of Yahweh for his people, and wave upon wave of Jews are returning to the land of promise.
Imagine it. Some in the group would have been very old, and they are returning home. But many of them have never been a part of the land of promise, this place that God had chosen for his chosen people. And remember how important place was in the Ancient Middle East. Place determined your people, your culture, your worship, and your gods. And this people had long been in a foreign land. Imagine their return now, as they have made the long trek from 127 provinces of the empire of Persia, streaming back to the land.
They had nothing with them.
They were weary, and weighed down.
They had lost their sense of identity—ethnic, religious, and cultural—living in a foreign land, whose rulers’ goal was to assimilate them.
Any feelings of expectation and any certainty about the outcome of their lives—hope—had evaporated in the face of overwhelming doubts, leaving hopelessness in its place.
All they had were questions.
Who are we?
Where do we come from?
What is our connection with the past?
How are we supposed to act, what are we supposed to do…now?
In the book of Chronicles we find the writing of a man on a mission. He wants to answer those questions. And the interesting thing is that many of us have the same questions still today, over 2,500 years later. And if we don’t, we are surrounded by people who do. And the answers this writer provides and points to in his chronicles are just as relevant today as they were then.
Finally, this Sunday we will begin our a new sermon series for the Advent season entitled Jesus Came. We will focus on the incarnation of Jesus, and what it means for the world, over the next four services. I think you will be deeply encouraged by this study of the coming, life, and mission of Christ.
I hope to see you Sunday!
Just a brief reminder that a great way to prepare for the service this coming Sunday is to read the text we will be studying together.
One of the dangers of reading the stories of those followers of Jesus that we find in the Bible is we can treat them as if they are almost super-human.
Preparing For Sunday May 12, 1 & 2 Thessalonians
This last Sunday, I preached the first of two sermons on Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians. Here was the sentence I began unpacking, which is my summary of both letters:
Martin Luther warned that the people of the church are always in danger of their hearts straying from the truth of the good news of the kingdom of God found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
First, it is Palm Sunday. Which means it is the beginning of a week of remembering the most important events in the history of the world: the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, his last meal with his disciples, his death at the hands of sinful men as the result of a sham sentence in a kangaroo court, his burial by those who loved him, and his resurrection from the dead just three days later. All of it for the salvation and rescue of the world.
The Whole Story: Ephesians-Week Two
I attempted to show in the sermon this past Sunday that Paul offers us two anchor points for our lives, and upon which our lives depend.
Preparing For Sunday 19 May 2019
What do you think of when you see these two words together?...